PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Pittsburgh Native who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his outstanding bravery 75 years ago on the beaches of Normandy is being honored today.
Only 12 American soldiers, out of the 150,000 Allied troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, were awarded the medal of honor for their actions during the invasion.
One of these men, John J. Pinder Jr., is a Pittsburgh native. He’s being honored and remembered today as an inspiration at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland.
“He’s always been a hero,” Jo Pinder, John Pinder’s niece said.
Jo Pinder is emotional when she talks about her uncle, John, who was called “Jo” by family and friends.
“When I was going to be born a boy, they were going to name me Jo, and I was a girl so they named me Jo to honor my Uncle,” Pinder said.
Jo traveled from Baltimore to be at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland where her uncle was being recognized for his bravery on D-Day.
Pinder was technician fifth grade who landed on Omaha beach during heavy enemy machine fire.
He was carrying a radio in waist-deep water when he was struck.
But he didn’t stop there.
Instead, he continued to shore and delivered the radio. Refusing medical treatment, he went back out again.
On three separate occasions, he returned to salvage important communication equipment.
On his third trip, he was hit again with numerous machine gun bullet wounds in his leg.
That didn’t stop him either.
During the invasion, he retrieved vital radio communication on the beach.
He ended up getting hit again and killed.
He received the Medal of Honor for his bravery.
It’s a painful story, but it’s also one that his niece believes is necessary for people to hear.
“Particularly on Memorial Day, or on Veteran’s Day, or 4th of July, I tell everyone that’s around the story. I think it’s important, I think we need to remember history,” Pinder said.
After his death, John received a Medal of Honor for his actions.
“War is awful and that lots of people give their lives and it’s really a shame we have to fight wars,” Pinder said.